INVERNESS, Fla. – Ted Williams' children are close to announcing an agreement over whether the body of one of baseball's greatest hitters will remain frozen, an attorney said.
Bobby-Jo Williams Ferrell and her half siblings, John Henry Williams and Claudia Williams, met for hours Monday at a lawyer's office. John Henry Williams left with Claudia without commenting, as did Ferrell, who left in a separate car.
Richard Fitzpatrick, one of Ferrell's attorneys, would not say if an agreement has been reached, but said he is hopeful the feud can be resolved Tuesday.
John Henry Williams and Ferrell have been fighting over what to do with their father's remains since the slugger died July 5 after a series of strokes and congestive heart failure.
John Henry Williams had the body flown to a cryonics lab in Arizona to be frozen against the wishes of Ferrell, who says their father always wanted to be cremated and his ashes scattered over the Florida Keys.
Cryonics advocates says science might one day be able to thaw a body, cure whatever killed the person and restore life. Most experts say that's highly unlikely. Ferrell has also speculated that her half brother may want to sell their father's DNA.
Monday's discussions were aimed at reaching a compromise so that a judge won't have to decide the fate of Ted Williams' body.
The estate's attorneys had been expected to ask that a judge decide the issue when they file Ted Williams' will. The attorneys missed Monday's deadline for filing the document, but probate experts said such deadlines are rarely enforced.
One of Ferrell's attorneys, John Heer, has said that the estate's attorneys told him that the will requested that Ted Williams be cremated.
Claudia Williams appeared to offer an olive branch to her siblings in a statement released Sunday. She hasn't publicly said what she wants done with her father's body, although it has been reported that she is siding with her brother.
"This is a time for our family to come together to support each other," she said in the statement.
Usually, if a will doesn't specify what should be done with the body, the closest next-of-kin has the right to make that decision. In this case, though, John Henry Williams and Ferrell have equal standing.
If Ted Williams' will makes no mention of how he wanted his body disposed, a judge could face some thorny questions in deciding what to do with the remains, said Bruce A. McDonald, an attorney who specializes in probate law.
"A judge will decide what is the most logical, although I'm sure to some judges [freezing the body] will seem like science fiction and a wild scheme," McDonald said. "Other judges make think this is a good thing. It will be a head scratcher for the judge."